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Recently, while trying to hang on to a leader that had a wild, 100-pound tarpon thrashing at its end, I learned a valuable lesson I would like to pass on.

We had fought the fish for more than an hour and it looked tired as I pulled it to the boat. As I slowly brought the fish in, it came alive and started going wild. The hook suddenly came out and shot like a bullet toward my left eye. Fortunately, I was wearing a pair of triple-lens sunglasses. The hook shattered the glass but the triple lens kept most of the glass from going into my eye.

Tarpon usually are caught early or at night, when most anglers don't wear sunglasses. Please, wear a pair of clear, non-shattering safety glasses when wiring large fish. If you don't think it could happen to you, think twice because the first person I told this story to had a friend who lost an eye while wiring a big snook.

_ Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 347-1389.